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b_erin

Help identifying german violin age and quality?

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Hi,

My husband bought me a 1st violin on eBay,  but I've read here that usually it doesn't turn out well. We can return it in worst case. It was listed as an "antique Wilhelm Durrschmidt violin from Markneukirchen germany. On the inside of the violin the only label is stamped directly on the wood and reads "Wilh. Durrlshmidt Geigenbauer Markneukirchen i/S." admittedly that "l" may be an "s" on the durrschmidt stamp, no paper label. I wrote down on a piece of paper how the stamped label is laid out inside. Back is one piece, top is 2 piece. I have attached as many pictures as I could think of, please let me know if more are needed. I has a hard time getting pictures of interior construction, but it has wood blocks inside at the lower corners, as well as bandings that go around top and bottom that look like quarter rounds. Pegs, chinrest, tail piece and fingerboard are all ebony. 

I couldn't get all the pictures to attach so I uploaded them to an imgur albulm. http://imgur.com/gallery/gx0APV9

My questions are when was this likely made? Is it what it says it is? What quality is it? and any ideas on value? I'm worried my husband overpaid and I din't want to spend the $ to have it set up if it's going to be lousy. 

Edited by b_erin
spelling typos

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I googled WILHELM DURRSCHMIDT, and immediately found a whole page from Skinner auctions of his sold violins. They range in value from $711 - $3851. According to Skinner he made violins through the 20th century,and looking at the stamp in yours, it appears to be genuine. 

I am sure the experts on German violins on this forum will be able to tell you more, but they will need better straight on pictures.

Have a look at the sticky at the beginning of the forum on how to take acceptable photos for use in violin id.

 

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Hi b_erin

If the question is to know whether a violin will sound good after a total set-up, then I would probably not start with a mass-produced Markneukichen instrument.

If the question is to know whether you have a genuine mass-produced Markneukirchen instrument, then it would be good to look at the features of the instrument, rather than the label. But from what we can see, there's no reason to think it's not what it purports to be.

Maybe if you were to put up a link to the Ebay listing we could see images of the violin in its entirety - whether or not it's worth doing up rather depends on condition issues which you might need a professional eye to assess.

My overall feeling is that trying to go it alone with something like this is a bit misguided, and that even if you spent a couple of hundred on an Ebay MK shell of a violin and a further 300 getting it into playing condition, you would be more likely to get a usable, pleasant sounding violin by buying a student model that you could choose for yourself in a modestly-priced violin shop.

Probability is against you, though you might be lucky and end up with a violin that's far better than anything you could get for the price in your local violin shop.

Most non-experts who fall into the Ebay vortex find they have to buy 10 violins like this to get one really good one, and seen from that perspective it becomes a very pricey way of buying a nice violin.

 

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It appears to be a pretty nice instrument. Much better than the usual stuff that comes out of  Markneukirchen. IMHO the stamp on the inside, rather than a paper label, might make it more likely that it's genuine. A paper label could be slipped in at any time, by anybody, where a stamp had to have been put there when the top, or back was off. A trip to a good luthier for an evaluation and set up, would be the way to go. As for whether your husband overpaid- you don't say what he paid for it.

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The OP would need to confirm that this is the one, but here is the most recent completed eBay auction with that description, so this might be it :

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Antique-Wilhelm-Durrschmidt-Geigenbauer-Violin-w-2-German-Bows-Markneukirchen-/173845932368

EDIT: It looks like the link may take you to a different listing, but at the top it says “The item you’re looking for has ended” and there is a button to the right to click to “View Original Item”. The sales price on that one was $810 plus S&H.

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14 hours ago, b_erin said:

My questions are when was this likely made? Is it what it says it is? What quality is it? and any ideas on value? I'm worried my husband overpaid and I din't want to spend the $ to have it set up if it's going to be lousy. 

If it is the listing jacklinks linked to (the $810 one) I think one thing going for you is that there were a lot of other people who bid on that as well (assuming there was no shell bidding going on). To me that means you could probably resell it without too much loss.

Is the violin not playable that you can get a sense of its quality without a setup?

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It’s a product of the Markneukirchen cottage Industry, pre-WWI (but not much „pre“) Dürrschmidt is the dealer („Verleger“) not the maker. HOMA on the bow means „Hoyer Markneukirchen“ the biggest pre WWII bow workshop, in Makneukirchen, which the Russians got as WWII reparations. Mr. Hoyer moved to Brienz in Swizerland after that, where he grounded the „Schweizerische Bogenbau AG“ which still exists, but Hoyer himeslf passed away shortly after he founded the firm. DRGM means „Deutsche Reichs-Gebrauchsmuster“ (a kind of registered product). You will have to go to a violin maker to have it all propely serviced.

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15 hours ago, b_erin said:

 I'm worried my husband overpaid and I din't want to spend the $ to have it set up if it's going to be lousy. 

I agree too that you have a nicely made violin.  From viewing the photo of the nut it appears the strings are too high there at the first position.  What I'm thinking is to have the neck height projection checked after the strings are tuned up to see if there is a neck problem or is it just a simple matter of adjusting the string slots of the nut for a lower string action. 

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Funny that they tried to copy the style of EH Roth brand;). I've seen better but even worser Markneukirchen from the assumed between the wars period, and this seems at least to be free of worse cracks.

The bows I personally won't even rehair, both cheapish brazil wood mass produced stuff; HOMA was C.A. Hoyer who had the biggest bow factory in Markneukirchen at this time, the mountings are "Goldin", what means a fake gold imitation, the other nickel montings. Because the seller decribed it as silver mounted the price was probably droven up by some clueless bidders, but maybe you can make up a case "not as described" and get some discount (50%)?

Edit: This time Jacob beat me;)

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I wonder what kind of case that is in the first eBay photo. Even though it is older, it looks pretty decent (hard to tell but if that is paisley silk inside and leather neck ties then it may be desirable). But the case looks large like it might be a viola case. Anyway, if the case has any value, you may be able to sell it and recoup some of the purchase price of the violin (assuming you like the violin and decide to keep it).

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Thank you all for the replies, and I'm sorry it has taken me so long to respond myself. Yes, the eBay listing linked is the violin he purchased.

On 4/4/2019 at 6:14 AM, jacklinks said:

The OP would need to confirm that this is the one, but here is the most recent completed eBay auction with that description, so this might be it :

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Antique-Wilhelm-Durrschmidt-Geigenbauer-Violin-w-2-German-Bows-Markneukirchen-/173845932368

EDIT: It looks like the link may take you to a different listing, but at the top it says “The item you’re looking for has ended” and there is a button to the right to click to “View Original Item”. The sales price on that one was $810 plus S&H.

I took the violin to local luthiers as suggested and was hoping to have it back by now to supply more pictures as requested. I took it to 2 luthiers and both said based on looks and weight it was german, had the right weight to sound "very nice" after set up, was pre 1940's and both said it was worth getting set up and that we "did fine" with the purchase, for what that means. 

I was thinking the stamped label was fake because based on old english I finally figured out that that last name stamped inside the violin is spelled with an 'f' as in "Durrfchmidt". That seems odd to me that a maker would misspell their own name...

My husband purchased based on label, I wouldn't want him to have overpaid for something that is of poor quality, but people here seem to think it looks like it is well made, so hopefully we didn't overpay, and it will sound good. We did also get a partial refund based on some issues. 

 

On 4/4/2019 at 8:49 AM, jacklinks said:

I wonder what kind of case that is in the first eBay photo. Even though it is older, it looks pretty decent (hard to tell but if that is paisley silk inside and leather neck ties then it may be desirable). But the case looks large like it might be a viola case. Anyway, if the case has any value, you may be able to sell it and recoup some of the purchase price of the violin (assuming you like the violin and decide to keep it).

The case is a cheap viola case, luthier was not impressed. I believe the material is polyester, and it has a rip on the outside, straps are not leather. 

On 4/4/2019 at 8:30 AM, Blank face said:

Funny that they tried to copy the style of EH Roth brand;). I've seen better but even worser Markneukirchen from the assumed between the wars period, and this seems at least to be free of worse cracks.

The bows I personally won't even rehair, both cheapish brazil wood mass produced stuff; HOMA was C.A. Hoyer who had the biggest bow factory in Markneukirchen at this time, the mountings are "Goldin", what means a fake gold imitation, the other nickel montings. Because the seller decribed it as silver mounted the price was probably droven up by some clueless bidders, but maybe you can make up a case "not as described" and get some discount (50%)?

Edit: This time Jacob beat me;)

Both luthiers said it was definitely worth it to repair the nickel mounted bow, and that it was pernambuco, so we rehaired that one.  

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